Notre Dame: Aerial footage reveals the true extent of the damage

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionA look inside fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said in a statement that first responders and city workers "formed a human chain" to recover any relics that could be saved from the cathedral. "That cathedral saw Paris grow".

A devastating fire ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Monday evening.

Almost 400 firefighters fought the blaze for more than nine hours, the department said.

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the beloved Roman Catholic architectural landmark, and wanted to see it completed within five years.

Macron announced the fast timescale - for a process some experts said would take decades - in an address to the nation where he hailed how the disaster had shown the capacity of France to mobilize and unite.

Priest Jean-Marc Fournier is credited with dashing into a burning Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday to save its most sacred relic: the crown of thorns that Jesus is believed to have worn.

'All the 18th century steles, the pietas, frescoes, chapels and the big organ are fine'.

Presidential cultural heritage envoy Stephane Bern told broadcaster France-Info on Wednesday that 880 million euros ($995 million) has been raised in just a day and a half since the fire.

Likewise, the centuries-old timber within the building's internal structure, much of which was crafted into an intricate support structure by medieval artisans, may be irreplaceable.

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Notre-Dame was in the midst of renovations and industry sources said the contractor would have its own liability policy. They're the beams that caught fire and then brought the lead roof down with them.

As many as 50 investigators are working on the case but are not allowed to enter the cathedral yet for safety reasons, he said.

Archbishop Christian Lépine organized the mass at the city's Notre-Dame Basilica, which is inspired by the historic church in France. "But perhaps it can't be recreated as it was".

The cathedral, one of Paris's most famous landmarks, lost its spire and roof, but still has its iconic bell towers.

"The cathedral ruins are still one of the more popular tourist destinations an Winnipeg and Manitoba".

While St. Boniface Cathedral was never restored to its former stature, Carriere also feels the global significance of Notre Dame will ensure it is rebuilt on a similar scale to the burned structure.

"It's a very deep sadness. Today's dying, we trust, will bring rising", Dolan said outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. We rebuilt Warsaw from the ruins ourselves. This is something huge for western culture, and for the world. "I'd say decades", said Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral.

When she and her friends walked away toward the Louvre they started to see the smoke coming from Notre Dame.

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